tv PBS News Hour PBS March 9, 2012 5:30pm-6:30pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: american employment grew for the third straight month as employers created 227,000 new jobs, although the unemployment rate remained steady at 8.3%. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the newshour tonight, we examine what's behind the job growth and what it means for the
arican economy. >> woodruff: then, two takes on the failed fukushima nuclear power plant one year after the earthquake and tsunami. miles o'brien reports on the still high radiation levels inside the uninhabitable area. >> i'm wearing this suit not to protect myself against gamma radiation but to ensure that any contamination which i pick up whale i'm inside the exclusion zone doesn't stay with me when i leave. >> suarez: and we have a conversation with an american nuclear technician who was at the site when the earthquake hit. >> woodruff: plus, mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: bnsf railway. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and...
>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> suarez: the jobs numbers for february offered new signs of hope today that the recovery is gaining some traction. the president pointed to progress, while his opponents said it's still not nearly good enough. the u.s. economy has now turned in three of its strongest months of job growth since the recession began. president obama marked the improvement today in petersburg, virginia, at a rolls royce aircraft engine plant. >> the economy is getting stronger. and when i come to places like this and i see the work that's being done, it gives me confidence there are better days ahead. >> suarez: the labor department counted more than 142 million americans at work in february,
the most since january 2009. employers added a net total of 227,000 jobs, somewhat better than expected. overall, the work force has increased by more than 730,000 posionsince the beginning o december. the gains have been helped by expanding payrolls in the manufacturing sector, now at their highest since april of 2009. and even the number of under- employed fell below 15% for the first time in three years. still, the president acknowledged there is much more to do. >> day by day, we're creating new jobs. but we can't stop there, not until everybody who's out there pounding the pavement and sending out their resumes has a chance to land one of those jobs. >> suarez: in fact, half a million americans resumed looking for work in february. for that reason, mainly, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3%. it has now stayed above 8% since
february of 2009, a month after the president's inauguration. republican presidential front- runner mitt romney took note of that fact today, as he had last night in pascagoula, mississippi. >> when he became president, he asked us to let him borrow $787 billion. he said if he got the money, he would keep unemployment below 8%. it has not been below 8% since. this guy had a lot of things to say, but hasn't delivered a lot. >> suarez: former house speaker newt gingrich issued a statement about the job numbers. in it, he said: "any new job is a welcome paycheck for the american worker. but as past recoveries show, the current rate of growth will leave the american economy sputtering for years to come." still, people hunting work have to hope that other recent signs bode well, with consumer confidence at its highest in a year, and new claims for jobless benefi neaa four-year low. for more on all this, we turn to
lisa lynch, dean of the heller school for social policy and management at brandeis university. she's a former chief economist at the labor department; and diane swonk, senior managing director and chief economist for mesirow financial, a firm based in chicago. she joins us tonight from new york city. in 2010 when the economy was struggling to add jobs we had guests on like you who said you can't look at any one month and say much of anything. but now that we've had three straight months of high growth, a year and a half of net job creation, is it safe to get into the water and start talking about a pattern, something we can really hold on to? >> i think so, ray. when you as you said you don't want to put too much weight on any single month worth of data. but it is important to start doing a little bit of addition and looking at what we're seeing on the employment front, having three very strong months of
robust job growth well beyond the number of jobs we need to keep pace with the growth of the population, on top of 17 months of adding jobs every month to the economy. seeing the unemployment rate coming down, even as more people are entering if into the labor market, seeing wages increasing, seeing temporary help go up, seeing hours of work go up, all of that added together on top of decreasing unemployment insurance claims, data, really suggest that we have turned a significant corner with regards to improvement in the labor market. >> suarez: diane swonk, you had a lack at the numbers, what are your general observations about february 2012? >> well, certainly it was a good month. and a agree that the trend has been in the right direction. i would add to what is already said and that is that we've seen revisions up. we've seen 60,000 more jobs created in the last two months than they initially counted and they cut the
survey in the middle of the month which means momentum was picking up over the course of the month that they missed. and that's been happening for some timeow that they hae been resing up the da, instead of revasing down the data so it also suggests that we're starting to get some more momentum out there. separately, it looks like from the unemployment rate where they call people up, that is generating much more jobs and we're getting from where they actually talk to firms, that survey. and those two over time go sort of get pushed together. and they get squared up. and i think what we're seeing out there is new business creation, new business formation is starting to pick up. there's other signs of that in the u.s. economy, in the payroll reports that we see from other kinds of businesses where newer businesses use payroll services. we'reeeing small businesses account for 50% of the job gains and new business formation is really the backbone of a more sustainable recovery going forward. >> suarez: so diane, what are the areas of concern, then? >> the areas of concern are the persist dance of how many team are still
unemployed and have been unemployed for more than six months. that percentage actually went up. it went from actually 5.5 million to 5.4 million. so the number went down but the percentage went up. still over 40% it was a high of 26% in the 1980s recession. so this persistence of long term unemployment, what we are seeing is people are quitting their jobs quicker and getting a new job. younger people are getting jobs more quickly, new entrants into the labor force but the people left behind by the recession continue to be left hand by the recession. and that's who we worry about. because for them every month that they continue to be left behind, the chances of them getting back that the labor force is more diminished. >> suarez: lisa lynch, at some point does a virtuous cycle set in where more people are work, that manies more people are spending, and maybe more people are working yet agn? >> well, tht's what you hope. that it's certainly when you look at the economy, much of the growth in our economy comes from consumer demand. and consumers can actually
actualize that demand when they have money in their pocket. and they need to have jobs and good wages in order to be able to buy goods that then producers will produce more of so clearly as we add more jobs to the economy, the unemployment rate drops. this helps feed a virtuous circle. but there are headwinds that one has to wrybout undermining, that a circle, that virtuous circle. so that's why it's important that we still have in place the extensions of the payroll tax cut. we have extension for the unemployment insurance, for those people that are out of work as diane mentioned for long periods of time. and we have to keep our eyes on other parts of the world that are buying our goods and in particular europe, with regard to-- with respect to what their demand for our product is. >> suarez: diane swonk, with so many people wanting to work mo than they are able to work now, with so many people still looking for work s it too soon for
people to be asking for raises. i noticed that the data on raises was not very good. >> well, it is i mean in fact, one of the things we do know is when you run unemployment above 8% for such a long period of time t happened in the 1980s for 38 months. we're now at 37 months today. you start to have cum latif effects out there. even new college grads that are getting jobs today are accepting jobs maybe out of the area tt is their experse. and canurt their earning potential going forward. also people who accept jobs often that have been out of work, accept a job that is at lower pay and with less job security than they had in the past. and that even undermines, you know, the future in terms of the broader economy and qualifying for a mortgage, for instance. so you are seeing a very unevenness to the improvement. it's good. we'll take it it's much better than we've had and it's still not enough. i think that's very important fund standing that this still is a very uneven recovery and it is not one
people are popping champagne corks over. >> suarez: lisa lynch during 2010 and 2011 men were gaining jobs faster than women. but in the last three or four months, that trend is reversed and now it's strongly women ahead of men. is that a function of which sectors of the economy are doing well? >> right right, i mean we see the health-care sector and social assistance sectors like child care, those sectors are adding jobs. business and professional services are adding jobs. leisure and hospitality are adding jobs. all of those sectors have disproportionately higher frtionf women in those sectors. but we're also seeing the manufacturing sector adding jobs. and those four sectors together represent the three and a half million net new jobs that have been added to the economy over the last two years. so we're going to see a little bouncing around between men and women with respect to the employment gains. but i think back to the point that diane raised earlier, the folks that are
really struggling are the folks that have struggled time and time again. those are people with less than a high school degree. see unemployment rates for blacks thatre dble unemployment rates for whites. so if you are an unskilled worker out there looking for employment, regardless of whether or not you are male or female, you're the person that's really struggling right now to find a job. >> suarez: diane swonk, quickly-- quickly before we g you heard lisa lynch talk about headwinds. what will you be looking for in the coming months to see whether these job growths have legs, whether they can sustain for the rest of 2012. >> well, the first one is there was a bit of a help from the weather. and so e weather id help some of those leise jobs. we were golfing, i wasn't but i knew people who were golfing in chicago in january and that just doesn't usually happen. and so that did help some of the leisure jobs that we saw there. but more importantly, you really want to look for oil prices. oil prices are the biggest nearterm risk. you want to watch that labor force participation, is the
hope going to stay, are people throwing their hat back in the ring. that's really criticalment and most importantly, i think lisa already mentioned t the european, european feeding back through china. china's exports to china are important to us and they slowed dramical. so the unannounced news today was that imports outpaced exports almost 2 to -- and that is something that had been the silver lining, exports of heavy manufactured goods in particular into places like china and china uses europe as one of their largest markets. so the ripple effects of the world economy are very important to us here in the united states. you can't just take us as an island. >> suarez: diane swonk and lisa lynch, thank you both. >> woodruff: for more on the jobs numbers, check out r web site for paul solman's own measure of unemployment, which includes the underemployed, and those out of work so long, the government no longer counts them. that's on our "making sense" page. still to come on the newshour: fukushima, one year later;
inside the plant during the earthquake; and shields and brooks. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: the february jobs report pushed wall street up today, but not by much. the dow jones industrial average gained 14 points to close at 12,922. the nasdaq rose nearly 18 points to close at 2,988. for the week, the dow fell half a percent; the nasdaq rose half a percent. greece's creditors formally agreed today to the biggest debt write-down in history. the government said nearly 84% of its private sector creditors agreed to accept new greek bonds worth less than half the old ones. the finance minister called it "an exceptional success," but banking officials in germany and elsewhere said greece's troubles are far from over. >> i think there will not be an immediate default of greece but there rely is the possibility th we will be back in this situation in six months' time because
there are a lot of questions to be answered. greece has to become competitive again. they have to execute the austerity measures. so it is a long way to the economic recovery of greece. >> holman: the deal with private creditors was a key condition for greece to receive a new european bailout totaling $172 billion. final approval for the bailout could come next week. in syria, activists reported at least 54 people were killed nationwide. smoke rose over the battered city of homs again as government tanks resumed shelling residential districts. 17 people were reported killed there. despite the violence, crowds of protesters gathered after friday prayers. they waved flags and signs, and chanted anti-government slogans. meanwhile, the leader of the main opposition group rejected a call from u.n. envoy kofi annan to open talks with the syrian regime. he said that would be "pointless". a vast throng of people in bahrain rallied against the government in the persian gulf kingdom today.
a in thoroughfare to a central square in manama was packed with protesters. some estimates put the number over 100,000. the protest was, for the most part, peaceful. security forces did fire tear gas at some breakaway groups. the demonstration was largely led by shiites hoping to push bahrain's sunni monarchy into sharing power. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to ray. >> suarez: sunday will mark a year since the massive earthquake and tsunami struck japan. the pair of tragic events killed as many as 20,000 people, and led to the partial meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the fukushima plants. the japanese government is expected to be cleaning up radiation for years, and nearly 90,000 residents in an evacuation zone had to leave their homes, likely forever. newshour science correspondent miles o'brien recently returned to the area for a series of reports one year later. here's the first.
>> near of edge of the fukushima exclusion zone, the area deemed too hot for human habitation we geared up for the trip inside. tyvek overalls with hoods, footies and masks, coverage from head to toe. >> i'm wearing it not to protect myself against gamma radiation but to ensure that any radiation i pick up whale inside the zone doesn't stay with me while i leave. >> we carried a pass that got us through the heavily guard check point, 20 kilometers or 12 miles from the fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant. we were traveling with scientists from the university of tokyo, driving that you abandoned cities and towns that once bustled with life. silent now, except for the menacing crescendo of our
geiger counter. it an eerie post apocalyptic scene. >> at the this elementary school life stood still. at 2:46 on the afternoon of march 11th, 2011. the blackboards are filled with untaught lessons, book bags left behind, shoes still in the cubbies. the scientists were gathering detailed readings. trying to assess the full extent of the radiation contamination nearly onier after the fukushima nuclear meltdown. >> what was it like inside. >> it was 0.2 something. >> 0.5. >> the results were mixed. inside radiation contamination was relatively low. but out in the playground, too high for kids to play. >> its if it's decontaminated i think the school can open said this scientist. we visited another school in the city of namia, a private
preschool. there were hot spots to be sure, but overall the readings were relatively low. i asked the principal whether she wanted to come back. >> to be honest, i have mixed feelings, she told me. i want to be back and at the same time i think i's fficult. this area m read lo radiation, but the mountains are reading high. the hydrogen explosions at the nuclear plant a year ago launched radioactive isotopes into the air. they were blown by the wind then fell with the dew and precipitation. as a result, the footprint of the most prevalent and persistent radioactive fallout does not match the neat circles of the mandatory and voluntary evacuation zones, 20 and 30 quill meter-- kilometers from the plant. there are plenty of hot spots outside those circles. and some clean spots within. until you get close to the
plant. this is the town of okuma on highway 6. we are about a kilometers from the fukushima-- fuch shimmee dai-ichi plant. getting high readings, 34 micro-- per hour this is an area where it is hard to imagine they will be repopulating any time soon. >> the readings were 15 times what is considered permissible for radiation workers. 300 times more than the acceptable dose for average citizens. but a if that standard were enforced here t would prompt a dram chrae larger evacuation. and that's to the going to happen. so the japan government has said the standard for radiation workers 20 milli-- per area will apply to everyone for now. >> they are living with high radioed radioactivity now. >> this is man is a physician, professor and head of the radioisotope center at the university of tokyo. he's also become a utube sensation in japan after this angry testimony before
a committee at the parliament. >> he believes tokyo has been slow to respond to the crisis, has withheld information, and has tried to downplay the concern. in fact, the government has been all over the map on what it deems allowable radiation levels for average citizens. at one time saying 33 millisiecverts a year would be okay at a playground. >> they were saying higher levels for a radiation worker than for somebody in kibder gartain. >> that is a crazy decision. i cnot believe it. >> given their history, they do not have to look far to get the most accurate scientific data on radiation exposition and its long-term effects on human beings. after all, the atomic age began here. i went to hiroshima to learn more about the famous radiation effects research
foundation. sitting high above a now thriving city, this joint japan and u.s. project has tracked and studied 94,000 survivo of the hiroshima and nagasaki atomic bomb attacks since 1947. >> this is a very exsontionally rare and unique unit. >> efan is the associate director of research here. he took me on a tour in liquid nitrogen and 56 deep freezers scientists here store thousands of blood, urine and other biological samples from bomb survivors and a large control group of their contemporaries who were unexposed. >>is there anaberration here. >> ye >>esearcrs analy stem cells and abnormallal chromosomes looking for sciens of-- signs of damage that can only be explained by exposure to radiation. and they conduct thorough medical exams on a large group of survivors every other year. they have published now about a thousand
peer-reviewed studies and have found conclusive proof that radiation cause an increase in the rate of leukemia a few areas after exposure. and over time more solid cancers as well. but below 100 millisieverts no one here after all these areas can detect adverse effects. >> extrapolating down where we tend to have most of our survivors, because radiation is not such a strong-- it becomes more and more difficult to show significance. so as an epidemiology study t is a big challenge to try to show effects that are significant at low doses. >> scientists are now devising ways to study the people of fukushima prefecture but it will be a challenge to connect the dots. while it is relatively today calculate the radiation dose that anatomic bomb survivor received in one instance, determining it for those who receive a very low dose for
a very long time is much more of a guessing game. >> it's a big job, isn't it. >> it is. the people are more than 2 million. and that will be a very difficult, very challenging work. >> a radiation biologist with japan's national institute of radiological sciences says that gradual radiation dose is not as harmful as an instantaneous one. >> when you reduce rate, so the effect is coming smaller and smaller. >> the body yields. >> if you get it all at one shot, it is much more of a shock. >> are you right. >> right. >> yeah. >> he says six workers at the fukushima dai-ichi plant sustained doses in excess of 250 milisievers but none have develop add cute raation sickness. as for the general population, so far no signs
of illnesses. at this hospital, a city that straddled the 20 kilometer exclusion zone, residents line up all day to be tested for radiation exposure. so far they have scanned 10,000 people, about half had detectable amounts of cesium-137 but all below the threshold for concern. >> it was unfortunate that pem were exposed to radiatn, but the radiation level is very low, says the hospital director. that's our conclusion. at the conclusion of my journey into the hot zone, i too got a thorough check. fortunately, no cause for concern. >> did i pass? >> no problem. >> no problem. >> it was the end of a sad visit. there may be no proof that living with low levels of radiation contamination can make you sick, but the absence of evidence is not enough to wipe away the
evidence of absence. and the emboldened wild boar will likely have free reign here for decades to come. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. welcome, gentlemen. >> thank you. >> suarez: . >> woodruff: so today's jobs report, 227,000 jobs created in the month of february. the white house says this is an encouraging sign. mark, what do you make of it? and what effect on the presidential campaign? >> the white house is right. it is encouraging news. it is sustained encouraging news, judy, to the fact that diane mentioned to ray in that earlier segment, 61,000 additional jobs from the previous two month os. so it's been a good record. it is not breaking the back of unemployment.
it's not bill clinton's 22 million jobs in eight years but it is certainly a significant improvement, the best since 2006. and so the republicans expecting-- on the economy t is just sand in their gears. >> woodruff: does it make it harder for the republicans to run on the economy. >> my colleague has a rule which is the job numbers is 200,000 jobs a month more that is good for the democrat, more like 100,000, that is good for the republicans. 150 sort of in the middle there. so that's good. because at 200,000 are you beginning to reduce the unemployment rate over time. and to this clarely good. also interesting, the psychological effect even beyond the job creation numbers. the fact that people are reentering the labor force. the fact that people are starting to quit jobs, assuming and being somewhat confident they can get another job. that is a sign of a broader psychological effect so without question, good news. the only lingering question is the wages are kind of flat as we heard, and then will this be sustain. usually when you have job creation rates of this amount, you have really
strong growth, 3, 4%. but our growth, the projections are like 1.8 or 2%. and so if the gdp growth is that slow it's hard to see us sustaining this level of job growth. those projections could be wrong and we could have it but a lot of economists think we may have hit a little low there. >>oodrf: and mark, there are still gas prices going up which has to factor in to people's ability to pay their bills every month. >> yes. politically i think the best note was struck by alan couger, the chairman of the-- he said this san economy on the mend. there was nothing try up fanted or self-congratulatory about it it is self-very much, i think david put it an economy on the mend. the gas prices are real, judy. and it's been cushonned somewhat by the sustaining of the payroll tax cut. and by low energy costs in this very mild winter. so people have, a couple of extra bucks. but it's going to start feeling.
and it looks that gas praises are going to continue to go up. and that is a problem that became a problem politically yesterday when the president keystone pipeline. he had to scramble to stop the number of democrats defecting to support the republican position by is basically a jobs and gas prices, vote to limb at this time to 11. so i think that was a direct reflection of gas prices. >> woodruff: and then you have the debate, david, where the president or on one side the argument is there is only so of the president can do about gas prices and the republican its will argue there is a whole lot more the president should be doing. >> and he's more or less right. he, i do agree with the republicans the decision not to build the keystone pipeline was an insane decision it didn't do anything for the environment and it did hurt jobs. and so would that have had an effect on gas prices before the election, absolutely not. there is very little the president can do short-term. the final thing to be said on gas prices is that as you
talk to people, talk about the iran situation, what happens if there is an iran-- i heard quotes from very well informed people that gas prices would lead to $8 a gallon. and that might not be long-term but that would just send a tremendous shock through the economy and through the psyche of the american people. >> woodruff: let's talk about the republican primary. the republican contest, mark. supertuesday is behind us. we're now into march. what does it look like, a rom nae had a good showing on tuesday but he hasn't put away the competition. >> i had an epiphany about mitt romney. i think mitt romney has won six out of 10 races, if are you giving this report card, would you say he is a mine news arithmetic, the math is very much on his side. he is d in chemistry. because he just is not connecting, all right. i think it's time for mitt romney to say the following. look, i don't make your heartbeat. i don't put sort of a life
in your step. i'm not going tobe the heartthrob that you have always wanted to give you an emotional lift or anything of the sort. what i am is i am an incredibly dependable and competent person. i will be a great stewart of this nation's economy. i have no vices. i am a good family man. and this is who i am. i'm to the going to be touchy-feely and he shouldn't try to be. today in mississippi he stood up and said hello y'all, that is supposedly-- . >> woodruff: talked about eating cheese grits. >> it just is not, it's synthetic, knts fit and doesn't work. >> woodruff: is that what he needs to do. >> i think it would be a start. mark hall person when he worked for been dole he started the campaign, he said i'm not the flashiest guy in the world but i'm regular, dependable. it would be authentic because he is not a heartthrob. the other thing he needs to do he is needs to get on offense to actually control the debate, to actually get some arguments started.
the coverage today of his campaign was about saying houdie y'all or whatever he said and then he stomped on a cockroach. so that was the coverage. and that's part leigh because we're trivial and we like trivial things but partly because he wasn't actually offering anything to talk about. and that's been a perennial theme of his campaign, doing the same thing over and over again, not controlling the discussion with something you are actually offering. >> woodruff: what should he be talking about? >> well, i mean, i think he should be talking about things like entitlement reform. he could come up with a job program, he could pick a fight about anything. have some policies on education. on families, there are a million things to talk about in the country. but he's got to have something new each day. something that begins to have an argument. >> woodruff: well, meanwhile, mark, he has rick santorum and newt gingrich nipping at his heel. now the romney camp says it's just about mathematically impossible, for them too much kaup. is that right? that it's just about -- >> yes, i mean the argument is there, that it becomes very, very tough for them.
i think it becomes almost impossible for gingrich. his own campaign has said he has to win both alabama and mississippi on tuesday. if he is even going to be a regional candidate which would then give himself carolina, georgia, alabama, mississippiment but gingrich does make one point about romney that i thik is valid. and deserves romney's attention. and that is romney has beaten rick santorum in both michigan and ohio but outspending him at a minimum of four to one. and gingrich points out you're not going to have that kind of luxury advantage against barack obama in the fall. this is a weakness of governor romney's came pachblt he just can't go in and outspend and just dominate the airwaves that way. so i think that an store u up-- santorum is pushing hard. and understandably to win one of those two states. and if he does-- . >> woodruff: mississippi or alabama, tuesday. >> tuesday, and if he does, i think makes it tough for gingrich to go forward.
he is in a position, one-on-one with romney to be at least competitive. and i think most measures of-- we get at least a majority of gingrich's vote. and romney would not. >> but it didn't look like either one of them is going to get out time soon. >> there are a lot of conservatives holding fire on gingrich who are back saying okay, he deserves next tuesday. but if he loses one of those two states i think will you see a wave of people, quite conservative people saying you had your chance. we have to have a 1 on 1. i was thinking with the good economic news, a lot of republican voters might say we may not win anyway, let's go with a guy we really believe. in and santorum could have an vachblingt the romney people are right it is hard to see how santorum gets the delegates but a guy named sean trend at real clear politics did a very good analysis saying it's possible to see how romney doesn't get the delegates. doesn't mean romney, that is an torum gets them but romney could do about as well as he has been doing in state after state and still
fall 75 dell 2k3w59s short by the time of the convention. >> mean ug get to the convention and nobody has it. >> right and presumably the party would sort of heave him over the top. it's hard to see somebody else getting but it would certainly not be a time of strength. >> judy, one point that i think bears mentioning here. newt gingrich, in oklahoma o, tennessee and-- oklahoma, tennessee and what was it, georgia, last tuesday, his campaign was outspent by his super pac 70-1. 70-1. the super pac has become the substitute for the campaign, for the party and everything. as long as you have one angel, one angel with deep pockets and wants to be a kingmaker or believes devoutly in you, keeps you going. historically when votes dried up your money dried up. but that's one of the problems. the republicans are going through right now. it's totally distect-- disconnected to any electoral reality. and so that makes it tougher
for romney as well. that these guys can hang around even though, santorum has done pretty well and wo a number of primaries. but gingrich by historical standards should long be gone from the race. >> that will be a perm thent feature of politics from now on as long as-- . >> woodruff: only a minute or two left but david a lot of talk this weak about the women's vote and whether the republicans have done some long-lasting damage to themselves with all this talk about birth control, con extra-- contraception, turning many women off, how do you see that? >> i really don't think so i think women are as divide as men there are a lot of pro-life women, a lot of pro-choice women. there has been historically general leigh a bit of a gender gap. so i assume that will be there. but i don't think there is a women's position on a lot of these issues. and so i expect the gender gap will be about what we've seen in past elections. >> woodruff: which is unmarried women tend to saver democrats, married women tend to favor republicans, although more women were with the republicans in 2010.
>> but president obama carried women by 13 points in 2008. i mean they were key to his election. and the difference is between unmarried women and marrowed women. john mccain carried married women in 2008. >> woodruff: how do you see it, do you see republicans doing -- >> i think republicans, i think they were ill-served by the hearings on capitol hill, the darryl issa committee lined up six males to comment and be witnesses on the subject of contraception. once it switched from a debate about religious freedom to a question of contraception, i think the republicans were in terrible shape. i think that rush limbaugh hurt the republicans quite honestly when he cated anybo seeking contraceptive aid as being a shut or a prostitute. there are very few people in the country who don't have a close relative who is on contraceptive medication. >> woodruff: do you see this dying out as an issue? >> well, i think the
contraception, it is tough to see anybody fighting a campaign on contraception. and just quickly on rush limbaugh, i'm not sure people really see hims as a republican. there is no evidence that he has swung a lot of votes. people see him as a conservative movemen movement/entertainer guy. i'm not sure people see him as the center of the republican party. >> republicans have treated him with a respect and dense. a lot of republicans seek his approbation t is almost, i don't want to say like a papal audience but are thrilled to be mentioned. de go after john mccain, it did not deprive mccain of the nomination. >> woodruff: we're thrilled to have the two of you, mark shield, david brooks. thank you. >> suarez: we'll be back shortly with an american nuclear technician who was at the fukushima site when the earthquake hit. but first, this is pledge week on pbs. this break allows your public television station to ask for yourupport, and that support helps keep programs like ours on the air.
>> woodruff: for those stations not taking a pledge break, we continue with an excerpt from tonight's edition of "need to know". as many of you know, ray is a co-host. here's a sneak preview of tonight's discussion. we want to start with so big numbs. 211 tfederal budget was 3 30i-- 3.6 trillion dollars. the federal revenues were only 2.3 trillion. most of that money comes from taxes. individual income taxes, followed by social security taxes, medicare taxes, corporate taxes, gasoline taxes and the rest. despite all those tax collections, the u.s. still had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars during the last fiscal year. of course much more rapid economic growth would mean more tax revenues and help close that deficit. but unless and until that
happens, we're left with two ways to make the budget hold. cut spending, or raise more money from taxes. today our focus is on that side of the equation, taxes. specifically how we can raise more money and make the tax code fairer for everyone. joining us from left to right in every sense, eliot spitzer, former democratic government never of new york, dorothy brown professor of law at emory university, specializing in tax law, braus bartlett former policy analyst in the reagan white house, he helped draft the last major tax reform in 1986. he has written a new book called the benefit and the burden. and dan mitch sell a senior fellow at the cato institute and previously served as an economist for the senate finance committee. guest, thank you all for being here. the federal government loses or foregoes collecting more than a trillion dollars a area by offering 250
different deals that lower tax payments. excluding employer contributionsorealth car not tang medicare benefits, the child tax credit, excluding contributions to retirement plans. if we got rid of all of these would we end up with a fairer system? >> get the government out of the business of picking winners and losers, industrial policy, gets rid of the loopholes that we all agree are leap hole, bring the rate down, you will have a more efficient tax system, less corrupt, less complex, a win-win situation. >> are you right f we could wipe the slate clean it would be enormous dislation to many people, and understand homeowners across the nation, who have a mortgage who deduct that interest and therefore don't have to pay tax on a fair bit of their income what sudden leigh say wait a minute, i have more taxable income, if we paired it with the theoretical argument, we could then lower rates it would be healthier there would be fewer disincentives, fewer dislocations. but yes, it would be the right thing to do.
>> economists generally agree that the mortgage interest deduction does not cause anyone to buy a home. we are rewarding people for doing what they already do. put aside the fact that renters get nothing, talk about craziness, we not only allow you a mortgage deduction for your first home. we allow your mortgage deduction for your second home up to a million dollars total. >> the problem is at this moment, with the housing market still at the very 3w09 om of the trough, some people think we have hit the bottom w who for example let's hope we have, if you were to take away the port deduction, everybody who owns a home would see the price drop because it is capitalized in. >> the one thing very important to look at, there are countries like australia, like canada, like the u.k. that have either no or much lower tax preferences for housing. and they still have home ownership rates that are equivalent. >> and the prices increased even faster in some those countries than they did here. >> the highest tax rate reached 92% in the early 1950s. now it is 35%.
but given our huge deficit, should that rate go much higher, at least temporarily, until we're no longer financing a third of our central government's spending with borrowing? >> i would say no, no, no, no, no. >> suarez: why? >> the answer, in my opinion, isn't raising tax rates, it's eliminating loopholes, it's eliminating exclusions. the 35% is already high. i... to me, it makes no sense to allow privileges to certain groups-- for example, homeowners over renters-- when they both have housing costs, and therefore tax other people. it doesn't make sense. >> suarez: so keep the current rate schedule, get rid of the loopholes. governor? >> well, look, i think what the professor says is right. if you had to create a hierarchy, you would say first thing you do is close the lopholes, broaden the base. that may not be sufficient and it may not happen. practically, if you cannot get people to agree on what's a loophole and what's a legitimate
incentive-- that... that is often an ideological debate. if we had to go from 35% to 39.6%, that's fine with me as a matter of philosophy, as a matter... because not that many people are paying the 35%, the 39% at the upper reaches. if we could reach some level where people who were earning over two million bucks a year, over a million bucks a year have to pay 39%, that's fine. that does not in any way offend my sense of fairness. >> one thing that's very important to understand is there's a difference between tax rates and tax revenue, and the 1980s are a good example. in 1980, when we had a top rate all the way up at 70%, people making over $200,000 a year paid $19 billion to uncle sam. reagan brought the top rate all the way down to 28%. those people making over $200,000 a year, they suddenly paid $99 billion. you got five times as much revenue at a lower rate. but there's no question that people respond to changes in tax rates. there is a very high economic cost when you impose these higher tax rates, because people just decide, "i'm not going to
work, save, and invest as much." >> suarez: so if we go all the way back to those days, those dimly remembered days of 1996, 1997, 1998, weren't rich people still trying to earn more money and be even richer? >> there is surprisingly little economic study of this. but you asked the question, at what point does the marginal rate actually dissuade somebody from working? i have not seen anything that suggests that you cannot tax people... let me say it affirmatively. you can tax people up to 40%, 45%... >> oh, much more than that. >> without pr... i said there's nothing suggests in t 40s, you dissuade people. you can probably get into the 60s. because, as you pointed out, people still want to get wealthier. >> woodruff: "need to know" airs tonight on most of these public television stations. check your local listing. >> suarez: finally tonight, one other story about the emotional toll of fukushima, a year later.
it's not well known there were 38 americans at the fukushima plant when the earthquake hit. carl pilliteri, a nuclear technician, was one of them. he recently spoke with alex chadwick, the host for the new american public media series, "burn: an energy journal." it's the first time any american who was at the plant has spoken at length to the media. he started out by telling chadwick what it was like inside the turbine building that day. >> the entire building was moving, then, i remember praying aloud for everyone, for all of us, just praying aloud. i'm thinking that were going to perish inside this turbine building, and i could sti hear the turbine making its most unwelcome sounds in front of us there. >> reporter: can you describe what the sounds were like coming out of the earth? >> they were almost demonic in the way they sounded. i don't know what was generating
these sounds-- if it was the earth itself, or the building being flexed or moved, or the upeavaof the buildg. >> reporter: and it is still going on, the shaking is... jolting is still going on and this crazy sound and its dark and... >> on the turbine deck was the only time i thought i might perish, and i got into a point where i had surrendered. and that surrender was a... i remember asking to make it quick. >> reporter: pilliterri finally got his crew out safely. then, the tsunami hit. luckily, it only came halfway up the hill they were on. the workers escaped and made their way to tokyo. since then, pilliterri has bee reliving that day. >> the morning of the 13th, when we all woke up from our first night's sleep in the hotel there in tokyo, i came down to the lobby and i saw one table with
coworkers at it. and i said, "i think i've been traumatized," and i'm sure the way i sounded, you know, made my point. butch, to the right of me, burst into tears, a full grown man. danny, to the left of me, chokes up. but that morning breakfast breakdown was when i realized this was more than i bargained for on march 11. >> reporter: generally, how did you feel being back in tokyo? >> the air about tokyo was people were laughing and people were just going about their daily business. i'm sure there were lots of people who are also cleaning the store shelves or whatever that was going on there. but it was uneasy for me because i'm thinking, just a short distance north of here, where i just left a day ago, no one is laughing, you knw. we weren't laughing. i've hardly laugh this whole year. i've hardly smiled this whole
year, and that's something i miss. i mean, a lot of people lost lives, and some are really... it's heartbreaking. but to actually stand there on that ground during that earthquake and that tsunami, and then know that these people are in trouble-- i'm on a high ground but they are not. it's something i've got to... i'm marked for life, i guess, with it. i guess it's something i just got to deal with. >> reporter: it must be difficult for you. >> when i first got home, i was waking up 2:00 a.m., 1:30. i couldn't even sleep when i first got home. and i took to drinking beer every night just to get to sleep. that's another story itself. i've got up to drinking beer, to get myself a little numb and get to sleep. but pretty quick, i've got into this 5:30 a.m. routine where i wake up, get my dog, put her in the truck. we'd go to mcdonald's. it opens at 6:00. i would have my coffee, my hotcakes, and then i went to church. so, that went on for well over a month.
but that first month, i was trying to stay busy, but i was also somewhat disabled. i didn't know it, though. i didn't realize it. as a matter of fact, it was april 11 when i turned on cnn, and the commentator said something about it being 30 days after or one month after the event or something like that. i turned it off and i turned to my wife and i said, "what's today's date?" and she said, "it's april 11." and i remember saying, "good god, i need help." its just one month and i... so i... >> reporter: you didn't know a month had gone by. >> yeah, i didn't know a month had gone by. and i started some phone counseling that was offered to me by my company. and the first call didn't go all that well. i was told i'd only have five calls, an hour long for five weeks. anyway, i think she soon realized that... four months later, she was still needing to talk to me. >> reporter: i'm going to ask
you about getting back to japan, but kind of, generally, did you start to feesafe again? >> i don't think i felt safe for... i don't think i felt safe for quite some time. i want to put weeks or maybe months on it, because i've developed this sixth sense where i kept one foot on the ground, waiting for tremors. on april 30, i went reluctantly to taipei from my home, to taipei with my wife, for her girlfriend's wedding. my first night in taipei, a five-point-something hits south of us-- and its only three in taiwan... in taipei, i should say. i feel it, i jumped up. i told my wife i knew i shouldn't have come. like, i wanted to fly to visit my family in new jersey, but i didn't have the courage to do so.
>> reporter: carl pilliterri, what do you want for yourself now? >> what do i want for myself? i want to get back to my old self. i want to get back to my... just want to be able to breathe freely again. i think i've tried my best to get over it, but i don't think i'm ever going to get over it. i've closed some doors, but i think i'm never going to be able to close them all. >> suarez: there is more of this interview on our web site. in the coming weeks, alex chadwick will examine energy efficiency and oil production on his public radio series. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: u.s. employers created another 227,000 jobs in february, but the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3%, as more people entered the work force. greece's creditors formally agreed to the biggest debt write-down in history, taking
less than half of what they're owed. it cleared the way for a new european bailout to win final approval next week. and activists in syria reported government forces killed at least 54 people nationwide. the military also resumed shelling the battered city of homs. and to kwame holman for what's on the newshour online. kwame. >> holman: later tonight, we'll have more from mark and david on "the doubleheader." on "art beat," jeffrey brown has a conversation with irish poet eavan boland, who also reads from her work. a week after the area's worst tornado outbreak in 40 years, we have a video report on recovery efforts in henryville, indiana, from public media station wfyi in indianapolis. all that and more is on our web site, newshourpbs.org. >> suarez: and again to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts.
>> suarez: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll look at the second of miles o'brien's reports from fukushima, where he examines the efforts to decontaminate the land around the power plant. i'm ray suarez. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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